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Pennsylvania Models a Streamlined Approach to Inmate Management

NCJ Number
Becky Lewis
Date Published
November 2018
2 pages
This article describes the features and benefits of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' (PDOC's) Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS), which is an automated model for a cost-effective system that can assign inmates among a state's or large city's correctional facilities.
Prior to the launching of IADSS, the task of assigning inmates among Pennsylvania's 25 correctional facilities required about 40 labor hours each week. The IADSS was created through a partnership between the PDOC and Lehigh University. Each week, approximately 750 inmates who are new to the system or require a transfer must receive needs and risk assessments that determine each inmate's rehabilitative, educational, medical, and security requirements. When these assessments were completed, the assignment process determined what beds and resources were available at the various facilities to match each inmate's needs. The IADSS examines all inmates and all available resources simultaneously and makes the best decision possible for each inmate. The system produces objective decisions, rather than the more subjective decisions of a manual review. The IADSS enables the PDOC to improve security, be more efficient and effective with resources, and reduce inmate transportation costs. It has also reduced waiting lists for necessary programs by an average of 54 days, which enables inmates to become eligible for parole sooner. A video that describes IADSS features and benefits is accessible from this article.